Assessing assessments for older drivers
New funding for looking at telematics in elderly driver assessment
Are elderly drivers fit to be behind the wheel?
The Road Safety Trust is helping fund a project to advance approaches for assessing elderly drivers’ fitness to drive.
The £190k grant is going towards The Fit2Drive project is being delivered by The Floow. The organisation specialises in vehicle telemetry data capture and processing. They will be seeking to repurpose technology from telematics insurance. This will give them a better understanding of the day-to-day behaviour and fitness to drive of elderly drivers.
The older driving population continues to grow rapidly. It provides many older people with continuing independence and freedoms, enhancing their quality of life. However, it is difficult to assess when a elderly drivers need to hang up their keys.
The Floow agrees that the existing testing capabilities face increasing challenges. Older drivers self-assess their driving capabilities. However, as we all know, that does not necessarily provide an accurate assessment. Meanwhile, existing driving assessments are costly and judge a person’s driving in a single test. These are often carried out in unfamiliar vehicles and locations, only partially revealing the real picture. Utilising telematics may provide a key to unlocking the issue.
The project brings together a variety of partners. These include Sheffield Teaching Hospital, University of Sheffield, NIHR Devices for Dignity MedTech Co-perative and Driving Mobility.
They will undertake an ‘innovative’ telematics clinical trial. This will allow them to understand older elderly risk behaviours, and how technology could make assessment ‘more cost effective, fairer and safer for all’.
Based around the Sheffield City Region, live testing of new fitness to drive assessment approaches will begin in January 2022.
Sam Chapman, chief innovation officer at The Floow, described the project as “unique globally”. It brings together “driver monitoring, clinical assessment, driver assessors, and elderly drivers themselves”.
He added: “This has strong potential to make not just elderly drivers and our roads safer but also enable safe elderly drivers to maintain freedom to drive for longer.”
The Road Safety Trust has given more than £1million to eight organisations across the UK for technology-focussed road safety projects.